More cell phones than toilets in India

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Last updated April 12, 2019

More people have access to cell phones than they do toilets in India, according to new data taken from the country’s census in 2011. Around 59 percent of all households in India have a new or old cell phone, the census reveals, yet only 47 percent have a toilet and that includes pit latrines that do not use running water. Only ten percent of Indian households have access to a flushable toilet that connects to the sewer system. Over 63 percent of Indian households now have a telephone connection, a massive rise from 9.1 percent ten years ago, and an increase that is being attributed almost entirely to cell phones.

India is one of the most rapidly growing nations in the whole world, with the IMF having estimated that its economy grew by as much as 7.4 percent just over the course of the last year. However, it is also one of the poorest countries in the world, with the average person in India earning a total of just $5368 per year in comparison to the average earnings of $55,622 per person from the United States.

A lack of access to toilets is a big problem for developing countries, as it puts the drinking water of millions of people at risk, with India having the worst of the problem. As many as 626 million people practice ‘open defecation’ in the country, which is more than double the number of the next 18 nations combined.